We use many more gadgets, gizmos and widgets in the Amoretti test kitchen when preparing the recipes you find here on the Amoretti Blog than we have previously discussed and we’d like give you even more ideas of what tools would assist you in preparing the recipes you find in our blog faster and easier.
In some of our brunch tea drink recipes we mention a tea ball. A tea ball, also called a tea infuser, is a handy gadget to have when brewing tea. Unlike a tea bag, you get to decide what kind of tea to use, you can custom blend teas to your taste, and you decide how much tea to use per cup. Tea balls come in several different designs, but they all work the same way: Put the desired quantity of loose tea into the tea ball, place the tea ball into the container (cup, mug or pot), add the hot water and allow the tea to steep until it has achieved the strength you want. If you are a tea drinker or regularly prepare tea for other family members or guests, you might want to consider a cast iron tea pot. Cast iron tea pots come in several sizes that will brew from 2 to 6 cups of tea. Most cast iron tea pots have an infuser basket built in to the opening, so you simply put the desired amount of tea into the infuser basket, add the hot water and allow the tea to steep for about 5 minutes. The cast iron material distributes the heat evenly and retains the heat to keep the tea at a drinkable temperature longer. The infuser basket can be removed from the pot to keep the tea from becoming too strong or bitter, or, as you consume the tea you can add more hot water to the pot to continue brewing tea with the same tea leaves.
Spatulas, spoonulas and dough scrapers are an important part of preparing baked goods. Spatulas and spoonulas are made of silicone and are as durable as they are attractive. They’re sturdy, stylish and the silicone head is heat resistant to 475°F. A good spatula is essential for folding additional ingredients into a mixture, like when you fold the whipped egg whites into the Belgian waffle batter in our Chicken and Waffles recipe or the egg mixture into the dry ingredients of the Almond Orange Olive Oil Cake. A spoonula is a kitchen tool which combines a spoon and a spatula into one implement. Curved like a spoon, flexible like a spatula, the spoonula was used to stir the pomegranate syrup and cornstarch when making the turkey glaze and the crème filling for the Orange Cream cake. With the broad spoon ensuring wide coverage while the flexible body scrapes into all corners of the pan, nothing is missed. A dough scraper is generally a small sheet of stainless steel, approximately 3-inches high by 5-inches wide, with a handle of wood, plastic, or simply a roll in the steel blade along one of the long sides. Essential for handling raw dough on the work surface, you can use it to help pick up, turn, fold and portion dough. We used a dough scraper to handle and portion the dough for our Sticky Buns. In a more generic role, a dough scraper, in conjunction with your free hand, is extremely useful in transferring sliced, diced and chopped foods from the cutting board to a pot or pan.
Temperature is an important part of preparing foods. For example, when cooking meat, especially poultry, it is extremely important from a health standpoint to ensure a safe temperature has been reached before serving it to your family or guests. One essential tool to assist you in providing food cooked to the required temperature is the instant read thermometer. Available in just about any kitchen store as well as online, they are available with either analog or digital readouts. An instant read thermometer was used to check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts in the Chicken & Waffles recipe. Another type of thermometer for cooking meat and poultry is the probe thermometer and timer. These thermometers consist of a base unit with a digital readout and a probe with a cable that plugs into the base unit. The base unit will usually have settings for both temperature and time, and some type of alarm that alerts you that the set temperature has been reached or the cooking time has expired. We used the probe thermometer to ensure a safe temperature was reached when cooking our Turkey with Pomegranate Maple Glaze. Candy, Jelly, and deep frying thermometers are submersible units capable of providing an accurate temperature reading when making candy, putting up preserves, or deep frying. These thermometers are available in either analog or digital readout design, as well a probe and cable type with a remote base unit and a digital readout. These thermometers have a clip of some kind on the submersible part of the unit so the user can attach it to the side of a pot and adjust the depth, so it’s not touching the bottom. We will use a submersible thermometer to determine that the temperature of the canola oil being used to fry our beignets has reached 350°F and to monitor the temperature as we add the beignets to be sure it doesn’t drop too low.
We have so many more gadgets, gizmos and widgets in the Amoretti Test Kitchens, and we will be sure to point them out when they are being used to prepare the recipes we provide.